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How to be a Successful Leader in Today’s Work Place

Davis M. Woodruff, PE, CMC

Course Outline

This 2 hour course presents the essentials of leadership that can help anyone become a more effective leader. Engineers and other technical professionals often have a difficult time in moving into leadership roles. Many technical experts have not had any formal training in leadership, yet are expected to become leaders and managers in their organizations. This course presents the essentials of leadership along with 10 secrets of successful leaders. It is intended for anyone in a leadership position, or considering moving into a supervisory or leadership role in an organization.

This course discusses the following topics:

Practical examples and case studies are used throughout the course. Questions are posed for reflection and answering that may be adapted to leaders in any business. If each question is carefully considered and the action steps followed, the participant will be well on their way to leadership success.

This course includes a multiple choice quiz at the end, which is designed to enhance the understanding of the course materials.

Learning Objective

At the conclusion of this course, the participant will:

Intended Audience

Any professional who is in a leadership or management position, considering moving into leadership; or managers who are considering promoting someone into a position of leadership will benefit from this course. This course is about leadership, so it is relevant to all who are in any type of leadership role.

Benefit to Attendees

Course participants will learn how to be a successful leader in today’s work place by applying fundamental principles and the 10 secrets of effective leaders.

Course Introduction

Finding and keeping solid technical talent is tough. Businesses don’t want to lose technical talent by promoting someone into a leadership position and then have them fail for whatever reason. Losing technical talent is expensive. It’s even more costly when a top technical talent is promoted and then leaves the organization. This scenario is lived out in businesses hundreds of times each year. Frustrated people in leadership lead to a frustrated work force and lower productivity. It can be avoided by applying the information contained in this course.

There are at least five reasons you should complete this course if you are considering making the transition from technical expert to the management and leadership ranks; or, if you are a manager planning to promote technical persons into the management ranks.

1. There are more openings now for managers and leaders with literally tens of thousands baby boomers approaching retirement.
2. The boundaries between the technical arena and the management arena are increasingly blurred. Technical folks are expected to have many of the “soft” skills associated with leadership.
3. Many times the technical expert or engineer must interface with outsourced service providers, so are in effect de facto project managers and need many of the same skills as managers.
4. More technologically complex processes and businesses require managers to be technical experts.
5. At any level in the organization, one must be able to deal with both tasks and people.

In considering the differences in being a  technical expert versus a manager and leader; there are three paradoxes that one must deal with almost daily:

1. Engineers (read technical guru) have a strong need to be right versus the fact that “analysis paralysis” cannot be allowed to delay decisions in the fast paced world of management.
2. Technical gurus often focus on the exact solution to a given problem versus the overall considerations of the ramifications of implementing the solution. Sometimes the solution is worse than the problem!
3. Dealing with gray areas versus the black and white of mathematical or technical solutions. People don’t respond like equations!

This 2 hour course presents a practical and common sense approach to understanding the essentials of leadership and how to succeed as a leader in today’s work place.

Course Content

In this lesson, you are required to download and study the following course content in PDF format:

How to be a Successful Leader in Today’s Work Place

Please click on the above underlined hypertext to view, download or print the document for your study. Because of the large file size, we recommend that you first save the file to your computer by right clicking the mouse and choosing "Save Target As ...", and then open the file in Adobe Acrobat Reader. If you still experience any difficulty in downloading or opening this file, you may need to close some applications or reboot your computer to free up some memory.

Course Summary

This course begins by laying the foundation for successful leadership and then moves to the 10 Secrets of Successful Leaders that can be applied in any work place and work environment.  There are questions to consider, case studies to relate to your work place and action steps the participant can take to transfer what is being learned into practice. The final section presents a summary with the proprietary and practical “LEADERSHIP” model developed by the author.

Related Links and References

Taking Care of the Basics, 101 Success Factors for Managers by Davis Woodruff and available at and other sources.

Also a collection of articles by Davis Woodruff can be found at


Once you finish studying the above course content, you need to take a quiz to obtain the PDH credits.

Take a Quiz

DISCLAIMER: The materials contained in the online course are not intended as a representation or warranty on the part of PDH Center or any other person/organization named herein. The materials are for general information only. They are not a substitute for competent professional advice. Application of this information to a specific project should be reviewed by a registered architect and/or professional engineer/surveyor. Anyone making use of the information set forth herein does so at their own risk and assumes any and all resulting liability arising therefrom.